PIQUA — Christmas on the Green filled downtown Piqua on Friday with lights, holiday music, and families looking for a fun evening.
Signaling the start of the Christmas season, the annual event returned with popular traditions, from caroling to carriage rides for the whole family to roaming characters and train rides for children.
“Everything’s going really well,” Lorna Swisher, executive director of Mainstreet Piqua, said. “We have a nice crowd so far.”
The popular horse-drawn carriages also returned to the downtown with lines going along Can’t Stop Running Company. “The carriage rides have been full,” Swisher said.
Swisher added that roaming characters —including people dressed up as “Despicable Me” minions to Santa and other holiday characters — were out making a number of kids happy.
Swisher also mentioned the winter wear that St. James Episcopal Church provided for free to the downtown, about which many people had commented to her. From hats to gloves to scarves, the St. James Church knitting circle strung various winter items for people to take at no cost to warm up.
“People are just so impressed that there are people out there that would do that,” Swisher said. “Which I think is awesome.”
Swisher also commended city staff for their help in making Christmas on the Green possible.
“Events like this take an entire village,” Swisher said, adding that the city staff did a “great job.”
Caroling was held outside in front the gazebo after the lighting of the tree with Piqua High School’s show choir, “The Company,” leading the singing.
In addition to caroling, there was also a performance by the barbershop group After School and additional professional sound services offered by Mike Caldwell. The Gotham City Brass quintet also entertained through the evening with more holiday music.
It was a family night out for many attendees, including local community members and visitors from other cities. At the Mainstreet Piqua office, families filled the lobby for the Kiddie Christmas shop, which allowed kids to pick out presents for loved ones. Nancy Spillane and all the Children’s Department staff also entertained youngsters at the Piqua Public Library.
Over on the side of Main Street, a live ice sculpting demonstration took place in front of Apple Tree Gallery by Dayton based ice sculptor Ramon. A train ride was also held for kids.
Shop owners also joined in the festivities.
“Every year we’ve been giving away candy canes,” Teresa Arp of Dugan’s Pawn Shop said. “This year we added Olaf,” Arp said, referencing the popular character from “Frozen.”
Arp is also a teacher at Washington Primary School, so handing out candy canes gave her the opportunity to connect with current and past students. “I see all my kids,” she said.
Arp said one of her former students, who is currently a junior at Piqua High School, asked if Arp remembered her, which she did. “She came up and hugged me,” Arp said.
When asked what her favorite part of the evening was, Arp said, “It’s their smiles. What can I say? It’s Christmas time.”
Following Christmas on the Green, the annual Holly Jolly 5K/10K run will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Registration will take place in the lobby of the Municipal Government Complex and same-day registrations for the race are accepted. Sponsors for the Holly Jolly Run are Premiere Health Partners, Atlantis Sportswear and Can’t Stop Running Company.
Also on Saturday, the Downtown Holiday Parade will step off from the corner of Main and North streets at 2 p.m. and make its way south on Main Street to High Street, then proceed on High to Downing Street. The theme of the parade will be “Magical Musical Christmas.” Immediately following the parade, Santa will visit with kids in the lobby of the Fort Piqua Plaza.
The downtown Piqua Holiday Parade is sponsored by Mark Reedy and Spencer Peltier of Thrivent Financial, Jeanie Jordan-Bates of McVety Realty, and Barclay’s Men’s-Women’s Clothiers.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336